Presidential: Facebook launches a chatbot on WhatsApp to encourage young people to vote

Created by the NGO A Voted, this chatbot helps Internet users to check whether they are correctly registered on the electoral rolls and disseminates factual information on the ballot.

How many French people will go to the polls in the spring to elect a new President of the Republic and then their deputies? The political world is in suspense as the regional elections of 2021 were marked by an abstention of 65% of the electorate. Worse, 82% of 18-35 year olds did not go to the polls. Even if the presidential election is traditionally mobilizing, the participation of young people is not a given. It is to mobilize this electorate that Meta France (ex-Facebook) announces this Tuesday the launch of a chatbot on WhatsApp messaging, created in collaboration with the NGO A voté.

For this NGO, the abstention of young people is not due only to a lack of interest in politics. “In 2017, 51% of 25-29 year olds were mis-registered, i.e. their polling station did not correspond to their place of residence», Explains Dorian Dreuil, co-president of the association. These young workers are still registered in the city where they grew up or studied. “However, poor registration triples the risk of abstainingHe continues. And even the most motivated are not immune to a nasty surprise. Citizens no longer living at the address indicated on their voter card run the risk of being removed from the lists by the municipality concerned. It is then impossible for them to vote on D-Day.

Check your registration

It is to fight against a “democratic bug“According to the expression of Flore Blondel-Goupil co-president of A voté, that the association approached Meta France in October. “We had to find the best way to reach young people, and that goes through social networks and messaging», She explains. The two parties therefore designed a conversational robot, or “chatbot», For WhatsApp messaging which is used by 36 million French people every month. The objective is to allow voters to check if they are registered and to disseminate practical information about the ballot. This year, the limit for registering on the electoral roll has been extended to March 4.

Concretely, the chatbot starts by sending “Hello»On WhatsApp at +33 6 22 26 69 50 or by clicking on this link. After recalling the dates of the presidential and legislative elections, the robot suggests that the user check if he is registered. It then sends it back to the site, which has a dedicated tool. In the event of a problem, the chatbot simply explains the steps to take to register on the lists. The online process takes a few minutes. The chatbot will accompany the voter until the poll by reminding him of the deadlines for registering or the procedures for making a proxy.

An excerpt from the conversation with the chatbot A Voté Screenshot

Influencers soon to be mobilized

To publicize the chatbot, Meta France and A voté have approached the media 20 minutes and West France. The latter will place the chatbot within their articles dedicated to the presidential election. “We will also offer free advertising credits on Facebook and Instagram so that this chatbot reaches as many people as possible.», Adds Elisa Borry-Estrade, head of public affairs at Meta France. The group will also mobilize Instagram stars to tell their fans about this chatbot. “We are working with Meta to identify the right influencers for this campaign», Emphasizes Dorian Dreuil.

At the end of December, the Minister Delegate in charge of Citizenship Marlène Schiappa brought together Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Google to ask them to set up information and incentive systems to vote. “For example, banners announcing the vote, video clips recalling the issue of the election, functionalities allowing to indicate that one has voted, privileged access to sites providing reliable and neutral information on the elections.», She explained to Figaro. Such a collaboration has already been put in place at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, so that social networks disseminate official health information on a large scale and encourage the French to respect confinement and barrier gestures.

Meta France is planning other civic actions in addition to this chatbot, but will not say more for the moment.

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